Spirit Dome
by Candi Brammer, Ambient Musings
January 2004


SPIRIT DOME reunites the artisanship of Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana who have released superb collaborations in the past such as WELL OF SOULS, CAVERN OF SIRENS and INNERZONE. "Created live on the spot in room 314" printed inside the linear notes has got me wondering .. were there occupants in neighboring rooms 313 and 315 while this was all taking place at around 1 a.m.? With no editing or manipulation done to the original recording, SPIRIT DOME captures the raw essence of Roach and Obmana's demiurgic capabilities and transcends my already high expectations of what these two can produce. Divided into eight parts, SPIRIT DOME is actually one long, uninterrupted piece spanning 73:31 that builds and evolves subtly throughout with no obvious transitions between tracks.

Opening with the sound of water churning beneath rocks inside what feels like a grotto or vast chamber, cricket chirps add to the presence of nightfall, conveyed further by dissonant tonal shifts. Chain-like clatter gradually intensifies as understated tribal drumming emerges, eventually fading into the backdrop for a later re-emergence. Eerie, metallic chords and stark wind hollows hover above an obscured restlessness. The album is filled with plenty of aural-organic spontaneity and a mood that shifts from preternatural to earthy and archeological. Towards the end of the piece the tribal drumming returns, this time gaining more prominence, along with wooden timbres. The drumming is ceased for the final phase of the piece, which slips into a vestigial calm and then evaporates.

While this recording is mildly serene, it does tread on the spooky side. Therefore it is a bit too unsettling for me to actually drift asleep to. I do play it night, but choose to remain wide-eyed and active when doing so. However the mood never becomes menacing nor evokes any negative emotion, for Roach and Obmana each possess the keen ability to create darkness without alienating the listener. I feel comfortably creeped-out when listening to this disc as it sparks a similar kind of intrigue and frightening fun one might experience while watching an old mystery movie at night with the lights out. I highly recommend it to those willing to venture into a more shadowy world, and especially to fans of past Roach and Obmana collaborations. SPIRIT DOME is haunted by relics and occupied with ingenuity!


Spirit Dome

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Spirit Dome
Steve Roach, Vidna Obmana
2004 Projekt PRO152 (CD)
Reviewed by All Music Guide, Ambient Musings, Ambient Visions, CD Services (UK), Hypnagogue, MusicTAP, Sonic Curiosity, Synth Music Direct, Wind and Wire, www.Metal-Only.com

Steve Roach / Vidna Obmana's 2002 CD INNERZONE served as the doorway to the surreal environment explored on SPIRIT DOME. Recorded in one continuous 74-minute session, this is a dark sanctuary of pure texture and beautiful, if not at times foreboding, dissonance pulled along with pulsing beats, subtle loops and dense soundworlds. The single piece, "Spirit Dome," captures a chilling gothic ambience that offers the exploration of remote psychological states of awareness. This is achieved by way of extensive live processing of instruments including fujara (overtone flute), guitar, and the seemingly bottomless wellspring of electro-acoustic sounds found only in the duo's soundscapes.

SPIRIT DOME was created live on the spot in room 314, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 24th 2002, around 1 AM. Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana were in town preparing for their performance at the 2002 Gathering / Projekt Festival. With only a brief window of time in which to work together before returning to their homes on opposite sides of the Atlantic, their reaction to the claustrophobic urban environment reveals a new dimension to their sound.

When listening to the recording unfold, one has to keep remembering that this unscripted spontaneous creation was a live session recorded directly to the stereo master, just as you will hear. No post-production edits or overdubs were performed. Past discs from the duo include 1995's WELL OF SOULS, 1997's CAVERN OF SIRENS and 2002's INNERZONE; add their live concerts together in Europe and the U.S. and we are brought to the enveloping world of SPIRIT DOME.
 
1. Part 1 10:23 
2. Part 2 21:30 
3. Part 3MP311:58 
4. Part 4 4:01 
5. Part 5 3:59 
6. Part 6MP36:09 
7. Part 7 8:47 
8. Part 8 6:39 

Tracks flow together as a continuous performance, but are indexed for convenience.



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